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Has anyone ever been sad for a very long time?

By May 16, 2009 - 1:16pm
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I lost my brother and sister within a year of each other 3 years ago and then my mother in law, my friend died last year. 12 years before that my mom and dad died 6 weeks of each other. I am the only living member of my original family. I thought I had dealt with all of this death and sadness, but I am finding that I am sad more than not and can't seem to shake it. Does anyone have any advice for me? I have done the grief councelling thing in the past and it helped, but now I think I am just overwhelmed with the loss of all of these people.

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I am so sorry to hear about your losses, and resulting sadness and grief.

To answer your initial question, I have experienced being sad for a long time previously, and it was also due to life circumstances, albeit situations that I chose (relocating, relationships, etc). I believe that sadness from situations that you can not control (death of loved ones) is much different in comparison to being sad from situations that you can control (relocation--you can move; relationships--you can mostly change).

I agree with Susan about your long term sadness; have you considered going back to grief counseling, since it helped you previously? Profound losses can take years, decades, to heal from. Healing and recovery can be lifelong journeys, and they become easier over time with the right support. Do you feel that you have a good social support system with other family members, friends, co-workers? You mentioned your mother-in-law; are you currently married? Are you open to receiving continued and long term counseling, to help in your recovery process to your long-term sadness?

Here is a big virtual HUG...let us know how you are doing!

May 17, 2009 - 7:08am
HERWriter Guide


Thanks so much for your story and question and I am so sorry that you have had to deal with such loss and in such quick succession. Being the only member left of your original family must lead to terrible loneliness at times.

Have you considered that you are suffering from clinical depression? Not just sadness, but actual depression?

There is a difference between sadness and depression.

We all feel sad over life's hardships. Anything from breaking up with a boyfriend to losing a pet or a job, to losing loved ones or not getting the dream job we always wanted. This kind of sadness is both normal and healthy and does not need more intervention other than a shoulder to cry on and a good support system. "Normal" doesn't need a cure! It's natural for all of us to have days we're down, or sadness over sad events. It would actually be unnatural to not feel this way.

What ends this kind of sadness is a healthy diet, exercise, a great emotional support system, and time. Granted, it's still normal to have sad moments when thinking about lost loved ones, but it's being able to move on and still live life that makes sadness different from depression.

Depression, from our Encyclopedia is defined as "a mental illness characterized by feelings of profound sadness and lack of interest in enjoyable activities. Depression is not the same as a blue mood. It is a persistent low mood that interferes with the ability to function and appreciate things in life. It may cause a wide range of symptoms, both physical and emotional. It can last for weeks, months, or years. People with depression rarely recover without treatment.

Examples of possible causes may be mental, physical, or environmental in nature and include:

◦Stressful life events (usually in combination with one or more of the following causes)
◦Chronic stress
◦Low self-esteem
◦Imbalances in brain chemicals and hormones
◦Lack of control over circumstances (helplessness and hopelessness)
◦Negative thought patterns and beliefs
◦Chronic pain
◦Heart disease and heart surgery
◦Genetic predisposition
◦Altered brain structure and function, including after a stroke
◦Parkinson’s disease
◦Postpartum depression occurs after childbirth
◦Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression or a worsening of symptoms thought to be due to the decreased exposure to sunlight that occurs during winter months, especially in northern climates with longer winters.
◦Substance abuse

Risk Factors:

Risk factors include:

◦Sex: female
◦Age: elderly
◦Chronic physical or mental illness, including thyroid disease, headaches, chronic pain, and stroke
◦Previous episode of depression
◦Major life changes or stressful life events (eg, bereavement, trauma)
◦Postpartum depression
◦Winter season for seasonal affective disorder
◦Little or no social support
◦Low self-esteem
◦Lack of personal control over circumstances
◦Family history of depression (parent or sibling)
◦Feelings of helplessness
◦Certain medications, including medications used to treat asthma , high blood pressure , arthritis, high cholesterol , and heart problems
◦Personality disorders

Our Depression page is here : http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/depression

The fact that you have said you are sad more than you are not sad makes me think that you need to see someone about depression. I think it's pretty 'normal' (whatever normal really means...) that you could be depressed over such overwhelming loss in your life. It doesn't seem like you've had the much needed time a person needs to recover from one terrible event, before another one happened. It's hard to expect anyone to be able to get back to life as usual after this.

Please see your doctor about this and get some treatment. Treatment can include changes in diet, exercise, talk therapy, yoga, acupuncture, medication, meditation and more.

Depression is something that many of us will face at some point in our lives. Of course, this is not your diagnosis, because only a health care professional can give you that, but I suspect that depression has you in it's grip and you need help to remove that grip and find happiness again. And heaven knows, you deserve it.

Please take a look at our Depression page and let us know if this seems familiar to you or something stands out?

And will you update us?

We wish you the very best and please know that EmpowHer is always here for you - stay in touch.

May 16, 2009 - 5:07pm
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